Silence. For years I’ve had a voice moving me forward. Pushing me to expand beyond my comfort zone. But now all I hear is silence. I decide I do not like the silence. No I do not. For in the silence I come face-to-face with another voice: fear.
Fear and I are long-time acquaintances. We go way back. Like almost a whole lifetime way back. And I don’t like fear. One bit.
So I sit here in the silence and wrestle fear and then I hear the voice again.
“Sit with the pain.”
I don’t like pain. I don’t like the way it makes me feel. I don’t like the way it makes me think. I don’t like the way it feeds into my fears and silences my voice and ruins my life. I prefer to run away from it or to meet it head-on ready to fight it away. But sit with it? Welcome it into my life? Embrace it? Surely that’s not what was said!
Then I hear the voice. Again.
“Sit with the pain.”
Ok. But what does that mean? What does that look like? And what on earth is the point? Once again the voice speaks.
“Be still. Listen, Learn.”
And this is how I find myself surrendering to my pain and letting it teach me. How I end up on the therapist couch and we end up having this type of a conversation:
me: I really need to figure out what it is that is causing me to lash out and sabotage my life.
her: what do you mean
me: well, the way that I overreact to things
her: let’s explore that. why do you think you overreact
me: because I’m afraid
her: what are you afraid of
me: what am I not afraid of
I really don’t like it when she pokes me. But I let her and we begin dissecting my issues. And although I’m in a safer, healthier place I find myself acting as if I’m not. And then she goes for the pain. And I sit, and listen and learn.
her: why are you attacking your husband? is he doing something that you don’t like?
her: so why are you treating him like this?
me: – I look at her –
her: I think that you are listening to the voices that tell you that you are not worthy to be loved and you trying to fulfill them.
her: You believe that you are not worthy to be loved or capable or deserving and so you live that lie
me: ok. so basically, it’s not that I’m afraid he will leave me, so I pull away, it’s that I push him away because I’m trying to get him to tell me what I believe isn’t a lie.
Pain is a horrible thing to sit with. It’s not easy. You have to be wise enough to listen and strong enough to not be sucked into it’s death grip. You have to hear close enough to what it’s saying and keep enough distance to avoid it’s deadly bite. You have to give it a voice before it will be silenced. And so it is that I sit with pain.
her: he’s not your enemy. he’s not your father. he’s not your god. he’s your husband.
me: I know that. But I feel like…like I’m just the person trying to fit into his life. That I’m just another burden he has to deal with.
her: you feel that way now?
me: no…yes…no, I know that’s not true. I know he loves me. It’s just I used to feel that way. And a part of me believes that I’m deluded now and this isn’t real.
Ah…now we are getting somewhere. I’m struggling. With an identity I thought was mine but wasn’t really mine. With a relationship that I started because I thought I was something I was not. With understanding how it is that I lived 20 years dead and now I’m alive and struggling to stay alive? I’m sitting here with all this pain and I keep trying to run from it or fix it. I’m STILL not listening.
her: this isn’t you. this is the scared girl talking. Sometimes what we need to do is be the adult. You need to be the woman you are and stop being the teenage girl you were.
me: I know.
her: so how are you going to make that happen.
That question…means homework. Which means that I’ll mess it up about a dozen ways which guarantees that I’ll be sitting on her couch again NEXT Monday. But she’s getting to root of my issues. And I’m beginning to wonder if I’m running from pain and fear and my past or are they running from me?
Just thoughts from the therapist’s couch this week.